Monday, September 05, 2005

First Satellite Contact AO-51

After a couple of tries where I know somebody heard me because they called back to me with my call sign, I finally made a complete contact using the AO-51 “Echo” amateur radio satellite. Although I heard the call sign wrong at first, I was one letter off, I had an “M” where there should have been an “N” and it was easy enough to figure out. I’m glad he said he was in North Carolina, that was a big help because he was a WB7 call sign, since 7 is normally west coast, I knew I had the right call sign when I looked it up.

Many may not find exchanging a few sentences with a random person a few states away very interesting, but to me, it was very exciting. I had heard the satellite a few times on the scanner, but could never talk to it. With the new radio, I was able to actually complete a contact through a satellite, made by volunteers, moving at 17,000 mph, using a handheld radio. I guess it is the geek in me, but now I can say, I talked to a guy in NC with my handheld radio!

1 comment:

KG6JE said...

How ya doin' Joe?
(And anyone else here)
I just got the Ham Satellite bug again after many years of being out of it. I used to work the Russian Ham satellites RS-7 and RS-8 back in the 80s. When they quit, I no longer had the right equipment to receive the other Sats. Last month, I did a web search on Sats with mode A transponders because I missed the RS Sats. I found out about AO-7. I could hardly believe the story. This Ham Satellite was launched in 1974, quit working due to shorted out batteries mid 1981 (The year I was first licensed). Then, back in 2002, a British Ham Op was monitoring the 2 meter satellite band and heard some unknown telemetry and call sign in Morse code that rang a bell. He posted this to the AMSAT chat board and found out that this was the come-back-from-the-dead AO-7, 21 years after it had stopped working! The short in the battery (That had also shorted out the solar cells) had opened up, allowing the solar cells to power the spacecraft while it is in sunlight! I loved this story so much, I had to hear the bird which I did later that night. It is still going strong, 33 years after it was launched. I now am addicted to catching the FM Sats as they go over my house. 73 Steve KG6JE